Friday, June 17, 2011

Warning: Lancaster Arms Spiraling

OK, folks. At this point I am being inundated with messages and emails from people who ordered a rifle from Lancaster Arms in 2010 or early 2011 (or sent one back for repair), who still don’t have their rifle. (Keep in mind…most of these people were initially told by Chet Durda that their rifle would be shipped in 10 business days!) Such complaints have been fairly common over the last couple of years, but recently, the volume of those complaints seems to have increased substantially. In addition, complaints like this and like this are popping up on the Internet gun forums with increasing regularity. (Not like such complaints were exactly a rarity before.) It’s now getting to the point where anytime I see a new Internet forum post that has “Lancaster” in the title, I already know what the post is going to be about: someone complaining that Lancaster Arms took their money long ago, keeps giving them empty excuses and bogus promises (when that person can even reach someone at Lancaster), and won’t deliver a rifle. And of course the Better Business Bureau complaint log keeps growing, now with a mind-blowing 50 complaints filed against Lancaster.

In other words, whatever is going on at Lancaster Arms right now…it ain’t good.

Under NO circumstances should you send any money to Lancaster Arms unless and until you have received a VALID tracking number indicating that whatever you ordered is already in the hands of FedEx or UPS. Lancaster has recently been known to tell you to send money because your product is ready to ship…and then the product never ships. I have seen two different people complain about this practice.

It's also worth nothing that Lancaster has a list of “National Sales Dealers” on it’s website, who supposedly carry Lancaster’s products. But upon calling a few of these dealers, most of them claim they are no longer doing business with Lancaster due to “various problems”. It appears Lancaster should update that list. Then again, it appears Lancaster should be doing a lot of things they're not doing.

As always, caveat emptor.

P.S. Be sure to read the comments that posters have left on previous blog posts, too. It is in those comments that you really get a feel for just how many people have been having problems with Lancaster recently.


  1. I am in the same boat ordered it and then saw this blog
    been 2 months now same story
    woods not finished
    machines down
    itll be shipped friday

    contacted arizon AG office and have tried contacting local arizona news if anyone is on board for pressing HARD for the news there to show what chet is email me

  2. Dabears, welcome to the strange world of Lancaster. "The wood isn't finished" and "The CNC machine is broke" are two of Lancaster's favorite excuses. I'm surprised you haven't yet been told "Everyone here has the flu". That's one of the other excuses that has gotten high mileage. And of course, "It'll ship Friday" or "It'll ship tomorrow" is ALWAYS code for, "Don't hold your breath waiting for this rifle to arrive."

    I remain flabbergasted that even though everyone is now on to Chet's phony excuses, he still uses them. This guy has to be either one of the dumbest humans alive, or one of the most crooked.

  3. yeah i havent heard the flu one yet

    contact arizona atf industry operations
    Phoenix III (Industry Operations)
    201 East Washington Street, Suite 940
    Phoenix, Arizona 85004 USA
    Voice (602) 776-5400
    Fax (602) 776-5429

    enough complaints may warrant an investigation into the company, they cannot look over individual cases but they can investigate the company and shut him down if it does not go well!
    I will start this effort and fight it out
    i will also give chets personal cell phone number to anyone who emails me, he gave it to me and said to call him if i have any questions regarding my gun and to give to people interested in doing business with him
    we are all interested!

    1. Would like chets cell number too. I had it and deleted it from the phone. Thanks!

    Attention Dabears...I would like Chet's phone number please...what is your email address?

    OK this isn't going well. The Police Department may be backing off. I have followed their instructions but now they will not return my phone calls either. Officer William R. Newman Jr. sent me the letter that has been sent to others. Now they want us to contact Lt. Troy Castillo at 623-932-1220 if your event occurred after 02/01/2011. I will be calling him today.

  5. Update:

    So, Lancaster FINALLY sent me A rifle. It's not mine, the serial # doesn't match, but the employee said that he'll check tomorrow to see if they built me a new rifle or if they sent me someone else's. Chet didn't even know it was sent out, he actually tried to say he sent mine out a month ago to another address. That place is interesting to say the least.

  6. Ok, so after looking this rifle over for about an hour, I can say it is not my rifle and I do not want it. I sent in an all matching numbers rifle with a chrome lined barrel dressed in brown wood and get back a non chromed barrel, mismatched parts kit rifle and red wood which appears to be three different shades. On top of that who ever stamped "Lancaster" and "GoodYear" into it did so crooked. My receiver was an Elk River and this is a NDS, with a lot of play in the magazine well. If Lancaster sends you a rifle, look it over well and make sure everything is correct. I am going to bring this up with them tomorrow, hopefully.

  7. Zu... how can you bring this up tomorrow? They don't answer the phone nor do they respond to emails.

  8. They answered their phone today when I called the first time on the first ring actually. The second time they called me since they didn't know they had shipped out a rifle apparently. Just be persistent and they usually pick up. I usually get through between 11:30-12:30 pacific time.

  9. DaBears:

    what's Chets phone number?

    As for the incident date....02/01/11???

    So is everyone else who ordered before this date, like me on 11/29/10, screwed out of 600+ hundred of dollars? This incident is a continued problem.

    Going to attempt contact with Lancaster Arms on 6/23/11 @11:30am-12:30pm Pacific time.


    DaBears: Please send me Chet's phone number.


    I talked with the Police Department today...actually the Detective working on this issue. Basically...we are f_cked.
    He believes Chet is about to file bankruptcy and that will be his "free to pass go" card. Lancaster Arms has moved to a new location but the Police knows where that is. That is probably why nobody answers the phone...BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL LEFT OR BEEN FIRED AND NO ONE ELSE IS THERE!
    Chet had 150 or so rifles that needed repair or ones to get out the door before February 1. He had to make an affidavit to the AG Office that he wouldn't take in any more work after January 1 of this year. That is why his web page states he will not sell to civilians anymore.
    At this point he has 27 more to fix/repair/replace...mine is obviously in that list. My assumption is that he will file bankruptcy within a week and we are screwed...he will get away Scott free. If he does fix will be a mess of crap that he just slammed together with mismatched parts and shipped to get it off of the list.
    If you are like me...and have had any communication or sale that occurred before February will be a civil matter not criminal. That is how the state is handling it as of now. The only option for those of us that remain is to hire our own attorney and do a civil suit on our our own expense. The other thing is to file a Consumer Complaint with the Attorney Generals Office...which I am sure won't mean shit.

  12. Can an attorney represent several (or more) people in a civil suit? Might be worth it if we get enough people... Thoughts anyone?

  13. If this is the case, everyone who has been screwed needs to press criminal fraud charges against Chet Durda... Filing for bankruptcy doesn't change the fact that he has committed fraud!

  14. Dave, it would not surprise me if Chet filed for bankruptcy.

    However, I'll bet anything that Chet has taken money from customers after he was told not to by the AG. This is a guy who flat-out doesn't care about the rules, including the rule of law. If someone was willing to send him money, I have a very hard time believing he wouldn't take it. If it's true that the AG instructed him to not take anymore orders, and he has, that could land him in serious hot water. And it wouldn't be a hard to thing to prove, either. The person would only have to complain to the AG, who would then notice the order date. Then the AG would be compelled to shut Lancaster down immediately.

    But, assuming that he followed the AG's orders, that would certainly increase the chance of bankruptcy. After all, it's hard to run a business when there's no new money coming in the door. But Chet had to know that this day was coming sooner or later. You simply can't rip people off left and right, and expect that you're going to be able to get away with that indefinitely.

    If he does file for BK, that doesn't necessarily mean you're screwed. You'll simply have to file a claim with the bankruptcy trustee. If he doesn't list you as a creditor in the BK petition, you may legally be entitled to 100% of your money back from the BK trustee. Of course, this all assumes that there is any money TO return. If Lancaster files for BK, I would not be surprised if Chet made sure that there was nothing attached to the company (in terms of dollars).

    Either way, I don't see how Lancaster can continue much longer as a going concern. By now, most people in the firearms community know that Chet cannot be trusted. And in the Internet age, where people talk to each other like we are here, it's really hard to keep a business running when your reputation is garbage.

    This is all too bad, too. AK's are easy to sell. If Chet had simply played by the rules, and not been so dishonest, he'd still be running a thriving business right now.

    Today I filed my claim with Attorney General's Office but really don't expect anything to come of it.
    We are in a Catch 22 right now. If those of us pursue Chet thru the courts...all he has to do is file for bankruptcy and we loose. It would take years to get your money (after lining up with all the other people he has screwed).
    Reading the posts above some suggest filing criminal fraud charges. The Police Detective told me today that "criminal" charges can only be brought up by those that ordered after the February 1st, 2011 date. They need to immediately contact the Goodyear Police department while the rest of us can only file with the AG Office and pursue a civil case against him.
    I hate to be negative but even the detective working this case agreed with everything I am saying. Sometimes in life the dregs/evil in society just win.
    Don't get me wrong...I hope a rifle shows up on my doorstep but I am not holding my breath.
    Maybe we should be focusing our efforts with the ATF so he doesn't resurrect under a new name/business somewhere.

  16. Have the GYPD also abandoned the criminal case against Chet Durda, does anyone know?


    ZU...I am still waiting for Chet's cell phone number. Please email me as per your instructions at(

    I had to communications with 2 different officers at GYPD. My opinion is...they are going to leave him alone. Detective Eric M. Stall #1154 says to contact the Attorney Generals Office if your date of business with Chet is before 02/01/11 and if after that date contact the Police Office. They have done a 180 on us. I am quoting him here, "At present your firearm being possibly repaired at Lancaster does not establish probable cause as a Theft."
    First they tell us to send a registered letter and then wait a reasonable time for Chet to send the item. If he doesn't then the Police wanted us to file a "theft report". Now they are just going to leave him alone.
    I am wondering if Chet was involved with the weapons being sent into Mexico illegally and that our own government was involved. Now someone HIGH UP has contacted the GYPD and told them to "back off" and to give Chet some space/free ride.
    The officer/detective even said to me that Chet's "civil rights" might be infringed and the law broken if an officer or someone were to go into his place of business in-order to pick up the weapon if he has "intent" of repairing the rifles. Just more can't trust anyone anymore.

  18. Hey, Dave. Thanks for the updates and keep us posted. I believe it was dabears that had Chet's number, I don't have it, sorry for any misunderstanding.

  19. I was in Durda's new location in Goodyear back in April. He is assembling and shipping what appeared to be full autos - said it was for some governmental thing. I wonder if the only reason he is still in business is that he is making arms for pseudo-governmental entities? Don't want to feed a conspiracy theory, but stranger things have happened.

  20. Anon 7:26, while nothing would surprise me, I have to wonder if that's still the case.

    For starters, Durda apparently told the authorities that the reason he's having troubles is because he recently "lost some contracts". Now, that could mean anything. And to be sure, Durda lies. A lot. Just because he says something, doesn't mean it actually bears any resemblence to any facts.

    Also, the cops recently said that it's just Durda and one other person at Lancaster nowadays. I'm not sure how only two people could fulfill such a contract. Especially since I've been told that when it comes to AK's, Durda himself barely knows the barrel end from the stock end. Point being, and to put it politely, Durda is not exactly a master AK-smith from what I've been told.

    Third, Lancaster's overall problems are now well-known. It's hard for me to imagine that any legit agency would want to do business with them.

    Forth, what government or other security agency buys kit-built AK's, and from a third-rate outfit like Lancaster to boot??? I would think that to the extent any agency bought AK's, they would arrange such purchases from foreign factories that make quality goods.

    Not saying you're wrong. Like I said, anything is possible. But at this juncture at least, it just doesn't make much sense to me.

  21. @ anonymous
    from the conversations i have had prior to my order with chet, he knows his way around an AK that is a fact.
    is he a guru, no he knows what he is doing.
    contacted troy castillo today and left a voice mail for him.
    chet also claims my check went out saturday in normal mail.
    i will believe it when i see it.
    if he thinks he can get away with this crap hes wrong. i emailed the number to anyone who asked for it.

    posting this again get as many complaints in as possible!

    call pheonix ATF industry operations
    and if there is enough complaints it will warrant an investigation
    into their business they cannot do anything since it is a civil issue
    but they can look into it if there are numerous complaints.

    Phoenix III (Industry Operations)
    201 East Washington Street, Suite 940
    Phoenix, Arizona 85004 USA
    Voice (602) 776-5400
    Fax (602) 776-5429

  22. So, I faxed Lancaster on Friday regarding the problems with the rifle I was sent. They called me today and asked me to ship it out and it would be back problem free in a month. I am not going to fall for that again. And all of this talk of bankruptcy looming, I think I would be crazy to send it back. Is there another route? Should I just cut my losses? And it's ironic, when someone wants to send them a rifle or money they don't hesitate to call and do whatever it takes to get it, but after that good luck.

  23. UPDATE .... DAVE

    This is the email I sent to the detective on the case...he hasn't responded in 3 days.

    Since I purchased the firearm in January of 2010, Chet has had possession of my property for a total of 13 months. Currently he has held my property in his possession without repair or replacement for over 5 months. At what point will that be considered theft? We both know he has absolutely no intention of returning it to me. What company needs almost 6 months to replace/repair something that is covered by

    I followed your instructions and filed with the Attorney Generals's Office. They will merely send him a letter that will be ignored just as he has done in the past. This is certain becasue many others have already followed that procedure and have gotten nowhere and have posted their experiences on the web.

    Many of us followed the direction of the Goodyear Police Department about a month ago and sent the certified letter to Chet demanding the
    return of our property with the idea that if he didn't it would be considered as theft. This out of the direction of the Police Department. Some of us were even asked if we would be willing to testify in a court of law pertaining to the theft charges against Chet Durba and Lancaster Arms. Now it appears that we will have to hire an attorney at our own expense and pursue him in civil court if our dealings with this criminal happen to have occurred before 02/01/11? All of that for a $1000.00 product? No one will do that and the Mayors Office as well as the Police Department are well aware of is just common sense.

    Seems to me that things have turned 180 degrees here from just a couple of weeks ago. I understand that I am not a citizen of Goodyear
    but what city would want a local business/merchant to be doing this to
    other United States citizens by running this kind of operation.

    I think this might have turned political for some reason. Are people now covering for Chet in-order to cover up a much larger story? Makes one wonder.

  24. I doubt its a conspiracy dave.
    he is way way to stupid.

    the fact of the matter is, there is NOTHING they can do it is civil, as for those post 2-01-2011 i will call troy again and see if i can get some more info. prior to that its all civil and a city cannot investigate it.
    they may not want him there but there is little they can do.
    until then contact the atf as i stated. also contact fox news pheonix
    Our fox out here has problem solvers which may help

    KSAZ FOX 10 & KUTP My45
    511 W. Adams Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    Phone: 602-257-1234

    the only way those involved in a civil suit will get anything is by talking to a lawyer or being humiliating him until he caves.

  25. I agree Dabears. And I'm not certain that alleging impropriety on the part of law enforcement is going to get anyone very far.

    I'm certain that Chet lied his ass off as he was being investigated, as it's plain-as-day to anyone who's been following this company for a couple years that Chet has systematically attempted to defraud people. How many times have people been told "Your rifle is shipping tomorrow", only for nothing to ever appear? That's not mere icompetence. That's outright fraud. And I could list tons of other things that Chet has done or said, that transcend mere incompetence and verge into other, more unsavory realms.

    As far as I know, the police and others did not actually contact and extensively interview those who have had dealings with Lancaster. They simply investigated Chet, and apparently took at face value everything he told them. But those of us more familiar with Chet, know better. We know that Chet will say whatever he needs to say to get him out of hot water at any given moment.

    But ultimately, the entire pattern of his actions leave little doubt that he's been up to no good.

    Just keep the complaints coming as warranted. I believe Chet is as dishonest as the day is long, and he won't be able to continue with business as usual without incurring more scrutiny from law enforcement.

  26. Has anyone gone as far as filing a lawsuit or small claims suit againt Chet? Any unpaid judgement would not survive a bankruptcy filing should he ever do that, but would be interesting to watch the judgements pile up as I can't imagine he'd ever show up in court. A small claims suit cost $48 in AZ. Maybe good money after bad, but might be worth the fun.

  27. Gosh you people are all stupid...all you needed to do was stroke Chet a little bit...and you would have gotten what you wanted...I did...and I am very pleased.

    Respectfully, Mr. Cromer


You are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to leave your comments about experiences with Lancaster Arms. The only requirement is that you stick to facts, or well-documented opinions.


About Me

But quite willing to "help" Lancaster Arms fully understand why the way they run their business, is completely unacceptable.

Welcome to

This site exist to help police a firearms manufacturer that has decided to run its business using questionable ethics. Too often, there is not enough complete, accurate information on the Internet about companies engaged in the manufature of firearms. It is my hope that this blog shall serve as a useful tool to help guide potential customers of Lancaster Arms to a fully-informed decision. As of the start date of this blog, many, many people feel as though Lancaster Arms does not run an honest business. We'll let the chips fall where they may...